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Sex, Appearance, and Training by Mark Rippetoe - CrossFit Journal

In Special Populations

May 01, 2007

PDF Article

Women respond to heavy physical stress differently than men, Coach Mark Rippetoe of Wichita Falls Athletic Club/CrossFit Wichita Falls writes in an article about sex, appearance, and training.

Women get the best results when they train for performance. Even though there are differences between men’s and women’s response to training, there is no difference in the quality of the exercise needed to produce the stress that causes adaptation.

Ignore the silly bullshit. Women’s collegiate and professional athletics and its participants have for many years held the answers to the questions most women ask about exercise, answers that have gone fastidiously ignored by the figure salon industry. The fact is that aesthetics are best obtained from training for performance. In both architecture and human beauty, form follows function. Always and everywhere, the human body has a certain appearance when it performs at a high level. But the fitness industry continues to sell aesthetics first, as though it is independent of performance.

Muscles cannot get “longer” without some rather radical orthopedic surgery. Muscles don’t get leaner—you do. There is no such thing as “firming and toning.” There is only stronger and weaker.

The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from barbell training. There is such a profound difference in male and female testosterone levels that the strength differences between men and women are almost entirely accounted for by hormone level.

As CrossFit grows and it becomes harder to ignore the results of honest work done at high intensities, the media are taking notice. You pretty much get out of an effort what you put into it. Effective exercise is more like training for athletics and less like lying around on the floor.

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1 Comment on “Sex, Appearance, and Training”


wrote …

Wow. That was very interesting. It answered a lot of my questions about what to expect from my training. And the reason negatives are so useful for women.


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